Ernesto Frieri working on regaining role as closer
MAY 03, 2014 8:23p ET
Frieri entered the game in the ninth inning, but far from a save situation with the Angels trailing 5-2, and runners on first and second with one out.
That was it. His night was done.
"I wish every outing (can) be like that," Frieri said.
Friday night, although it was just a very, small sample size, Frieri made his pitches. That was something he didn't do to start the season leading to his demotion as the team's closer last month after blowing two of his four save opportunities.
Mike Scioscia originally said he wants to slowly allow Frieri to work on some things and hopefully in the long run, be able to allow him to regain his spot in the Angels' bullpen closing games.
That opportunity could come sooner rather than later.
"We'll use Joe Smith this series to close and then we'll evaluate things to see where Ernie fits in," Scioscia said.
Smith has done an admirable job since taking over as the team's closer. He recorded saves in two of the Angels wins over Cleveland earlier this week.
Frieri, since his demotion, has thrown 2 2/3 scoreless innings, faced eight batters, hit one batter, but has not allowed a hit. He's inherited two runners during this stretch.
He says he's watched a lot of tape but hasn't changed anything with his mechanics.
At the end of the day, he says, it all boils down to him making his pitches.
"I've been leaving the ball right down the middle, up in the strike zone, even when I'm ahead in the count I've been given up hard contact," he said. "That can't happen anymore.
"Execute the pitch. You want to go down and away, make it happen. Get the ball down and away don't leave it in the middle. That's what I was doing and that's why I was getting hurt. I think it's about focus, work a little bit more, and just trust yourself."
Ultimately he and his skipper want to see the same results -- Frieri in the back of the Angels bullpen as the team's closer.
"If they want me to show that I can do it, that's what I'm here for -- to show myself that I can do it, that I can be better than I've been showing lately and that I can go back and close games," Frieri said. "Hopefully, they give me another chance."